Microsoft makes Windows app pricing changes to support universal apps

Last week as part of their many BUILD 2014 announcements, Microsoft revealed their "universal apps" program, which will allow developers to make one app that will work on Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone. It will also allow consumers to pay for an app once and have it work on all three platforms. This week, Microsoft announced that it has made some changes to its app pricing structure in order to support universal apps.

In a blog post, Microsoft said that the price changes are now live and offer app creators "a single set of price tiers across Windows and Windows Phone." As part of that new system, Windows 8 and RT apps can now be priced at 99 cents and $1.29 for the first time. Microsoft says that apps in this price range that have been released for Windows Phone in the past take up 55 percent of all app transactions for that platform.

Microsoft has also made some alterations in app prices based on foreign exchange rates, taxes and market-specific pricing customs. The blog states that app developers might see some of their prices go up and others go down, depending on the local market.

The first apps that will support Microsoft's new universal app program should go live in the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store in a matter of weeks. Microsoft says that more announcements and changes for their Windows app store efforts will be announced next week.

Source: Microsoft

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20 Comments

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CAP-Team said,
All apps should Be Universal apps.
At least I hope many developers will create universal apps.

We'll have to wait and hope, I think many could be universal apps though not exactly the same from a UI perspective since the way it's done in VS is that it still allows you to tweak each target version if you want to.

These prices are absurd. Microsoft should start out by asking, what app prices can support ISVs' development efforts? Then Microsoft should set minimum prices that are able to support this scenario. (e.g. $5.) Instead, Microsoft seems to start out by asking, how much do customers want to pay? Zero? Okay, we'll set or at least allow software prices to be predominantly set to zero, or close to zero. Which economists are advising Microsoft on pricing? Microsoft needs to have a regular Windows Store; and a Windows Pro Store, where a minimum price of about $5 is set for software in the latter store. It is then, and only then, that the Windows Store will start seeing great apps. 99 cents for a quality app is a complete joke. Maybe Microsoft should start selling all its software exclusively through the Windows store, and see its apps' prices dragged down towards nothing.

Nothing is stopping developers from selling apps in the store at 499 USD or more, this is about the minimum pricing. Personally I'd prefer if there were no minimum (So I could sell apps at 0.49 or something like that)

Martin Sundhaug said,
Nothing is stopping developers from selling apps in the store at 499 USD or more, this is about the minimum pricing. Personally I'd prefer if there were no minimum (So I could sell apps at 0.49 or something like that)

Minimum pricing is to stop that race to the bottom though, there are some bigger developers out there that can afford to price their app/game at ..49cents like you want but there's many others who can't. The idea of keeping the prices a bit higher was so that even the little guy would have a chance to compete on pricing and make money.

Now with the phone and windows allowing for the same app to be paid for once they lowered that to 99cents because that was the minimum on the phone but also on the other side developers can now target an even larger group with less work, phone + tablet/pc. So costs are lower and the market is bigger with this move thus lower prices coming.

That's not to say they don't lower the minimum again later or get rid of it after some time.

Patmore Douglas said,
These prices are absurd.

Another "I want everything for free" comment.
If developers cannot ask some financial reward for their work, what the point of even starting something?

I f*****g hate this mentality. It also creates a chicken and the egg situation. If there is no real money to be made via the Windows Store, new apps will be left out there.

And $4.99 isn't a lot of money for an app you use a lot, and can install across all your devices.

Have a look at your daily bills to see what you can get for that money. Heck, a lot of people spend more on their strangely named coffee at Starbucks.

Does this apply to Achievements as well?

I just picked up Kingdoms and Lords for Windows 8/RT, and it sync'd the progress I have done on my phone, which is nearly finished.
That means I won't be able to get the achievements on Windows 8/RT because they've already been done under Windows Phone.

that's not true. You will get double the achievements. When I played an Xbox game that syncs between Windows 8 and Windows Phone, I got the achievements twice after syncing. For instance, I finished the game on my Windows 8 PC, and when I launched it on the phone, I was given the option to sync. When I chose to sync, a bunch of achievements started popping up. So essentially, if you choose to sync, you get double achievements without extra work. it's fantastic!

Nazmus Shakib Khandaker said,
that's not true. You will get double the achievements. When I played an Xbox game that syncs between Windows 8 and Windows Phone, I got the achievements twice after syncing. For instance, I finished the game on my Windows 8 PC, and when I launched it on the phone, I was given the option to sync. When I chose to sync, a bunch of achievements started popping up. So essentially, if you choose to sync, you get double achievements without extra work. it's fantastic!

Hasn't happened with me.. I don't have my achievements :(

But then this is a Gameloft game, and they are the absolute worse company when it comes to supporting their games. I've already decided it's the last game I get from them.

Xbox is already in the mix as shown at Build... it's just a matter of bring it all to life after all the through testing and scenarios to ensure the best experience for everyone :)

Enron said,
This is the way forward. Just bring Xbox into the mix now.

I highly doubt XBox will ever be counted along with these mobile devices. That does not seem economically feasible for Microsoft.

Mohitster said,

I highly doubt XBox will ever be counted along with these mobile devices. That does not seem economically feasible for Microsoft.

but it is being done, its a few updates away but the xbox store will,open and universal apps will run on it, its been shown. Regardless of your opinion, its happening.

Enron said,
This is the way forward. Just bring Xbox into the mix now.

It will happen however it will take quite a bit of time and a massive update to the xbox to get this to work.

This is mainly due to the fact that the xbox team ripped all support for C# \ Xaml from the Win8 kernel used for the xbox o\s. Having spoken with people who coded parts of the UI and the nightmare it was because of having to use a bastardised mix of c++ and markup to get things working nicely.

duddit2 said,
but it is being done, its a few updates away but the xbox store will,open and universal apps will run on it, its been shown. Regardless of your opinion, its happening.

Yes, it's happening. What I meant is that it does not seem economically feasible for high-end Console quality games and hence those games may not make it to the universal app party. Lot of other games will.

Are Microsoft going to lead by example with Halo Spartan Assault, which fits the bill perfectly. Available on WP, W8, RT.

Same here I've been hoping for a Final Fantasy that works on my Surface, PC & Xbox. Don't get me wrong I love having them released on Windows Phone but sometimes I would like to play them on a bigger screen (yes I know there are "other" ways to play them but I prefer touch compatible versions)